Friday, July 1, 2016

Marcelo De Castro Engineer/Nature and Travel Photographer

While seeing the world while traveling for his job, Marcelo De Castro began his creative relationship with photography. Since 2010, his love for nature and the outdoors has directed his focus to landscape photography.

Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps
Photo:  Marcelo De Castro

The Neuschwanstein Castle has always been my favorite castle and my hope is to see it in the future. Hours have been spent placing the pieces of the 1,000 piece puzzle to create the complete image. This winter photo by Marcelo is one that truly captures the mystery and beauty of this amazing castle.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at sunset
Photo:  Marcelo De Castro

For the sake of photography, Marcelo now visits places he normally would not go, at times he normally would not be traveling, and braves weather which previously would have kept him inside. Photography has broadened the scope of his travel in the hope of discovering new places to find the perfect scene.

Giza Plateau, Egypt
Photo:  Marcelo De Castro

Marcelo grew up in Brasil and lived a large portion of his life in the United States where he graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in electrical engineering.

Visit Marcelo's Website to see his featured photos in National Geographic Traveller, National Geographic Rarely Seen, Destinations of a Lifetime, Fotografe Melhor (Brasil), and Photo Digital (Germany).

Above Guangxi Mountains
Southern China six-image stitched panorama

Photo:  Marcelo De Castro

Marcelo behind the scenes
in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Voluntary Recalls from Kashi, Meadow Gold, and Quaker Oats

May 31, 2016

Kashi Company Recalls One Variety of Granola Bars 
and One Variety of Naked Granola

Kashi Company voluntarily recalls Kashi® Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars and Bear Naked® Soft Baked Granola, Cinnamon + Sunflower Butter in the continental United states due to containing ingredients made with sunflower seeds distributed by SunOpta which have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

This can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more photos, codes, and dates to identify the recalled products.

June 1, 2016

Meadow Gold Dairy Recalls Whipping Cream 

and Half and Half

Photo:  Food Safety News
The Meadow Gold Diary plant in Boise voluntarily recalls Meadow Gold brand Old Style Whipping Cream and Meadow Gold DairyPure brand Whipping Cream and Half and Half because of insufficient pasteurization.  Pathogens which may have survived which are present in the raw milk include Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and/or E. coli. These could cause serious or life threatening issues. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more photos, codes, and dates to identify the recalled products.

June 2, 2016

Quaker Oats Recalls Quinoa Granola Bars

The Quaker Oats Company does a second voluntary recall of ALL Quaker® Quinoa Granola Bars due to further sunflower kernel contamination discovered by ingredient supplier SunOpta. Quaker issued a recall on May 16, 2016, on a small quantity of Quinoa Bars which were potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Visit the U.S. Food andDrug Administration for more photos, codes, and dates to identify the recalled products.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Faces of South African Artist, Gerhard van Vuuren

Faces provide identity, display emotion, and house the sources for the portions of our being which provide for two of the human senses, both seeing and taste.

Gerhard van Vuuren

Gerhard van Vuuren

Gerhard van Vuuren began drawing and painting in elementary school allowing him to win prizes for his art. Drawing biology sketches for fellow students in high school gave him the opportunity to begin making money for his incredible talent.

Being color blind has worked as an asset when painting by removing the prescribed limits of color which others might see. Gerhard’s unique presentation brings life to the portraits he creates somewhat in the abstract, but at the same time being very realistic.

Gerhard van Vuuren

The following two paintings from his Proverbs and Idioms series invite the viewer to explore the meaning of the portrait.

Gerhard van Vuuren
Neck in Neck
Gerhard van Vuuren

Using mostly acrylic, Gerhard has developed various methods of his own for creating the interesting effects we see in his portraits. Focusing primarily in female portraits, his male portraits, murals, drawings, and furniture painting also reflect a style which is completely his own.

Contemporary Seascape
Gerhard van Vuuren

Which colors would define your portrait?

Gerhard van Vuuren
Pretoria, South Africa


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Haberdasher Extraordinaire, Maor Zabar!

In today’s world, the term haberdasher is most generally used to describe a clothing outfitter for men. Haberdasher is derived from the Middle English word hapertas, which was an Anglo-French word for a type of cloth, as is the now obsolete noun haberdash, which once meant petty merchandise or small wares such as sewing needles and thimbles. However, throughout history, the term haberdasher has referred to someone who deals in hats or caps. With that being said, I would now like to introduce Maor Zabar, Haberdasher Extraordinaire!

Pitcher Plant Fascinator
inspired by the 
deadly Sarracenia pitcher plant
Photo:  good jude

As the grandson of a tailor, Maor Zabar began playing with fabric and learned how to sew at an early age. His studies in fashion and costume design led him to the creation of many complex costumes invoking a unique dreamlike appeal.

Photo:  good jude

Having always loved hats, Maor’s basic learning from a milliner impelled him to begin experimentation to discover new ways to mold and manipulate fabrics. With the addition of beads, fur, plastic, paint, and a variety of themed items, this stunning line of hats became filled with true works of art.

Baby Chicks in the Meadow Fascinator
Photo:  good jude

After seeing Maor’s costumes featured in a play, Tal Markovitch, a fashion designer, contacted him with the hope that the two of them might begin working together. Before long, a business partnership was formed and the hat business began.

Crustacean and Wine Hat
Photo:  good jude

These fascinating fashions originate from varied themes, including carnivorous plants, baby, fruits, infestation, food, folk tale, and others. Visit the Maor Zabar Hats Website or their shop on Etsy to see the end result of the artistry involved in this fascinating wearable art.

with lemon and lettuce
Photo:  good jude

Which of these surprising hats would be your first choice? 
Mine would probably be either the Pitcher Plant or Venus Fly Trap from the Carnivorous line
 or the Shrimp and Caviar Fascinator from the Food line.

Maor Zabar
Tal Markovitch


Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Kraft Heinz Company Expands Voluntary Recall of Wrapped American Slices

September 3, 2015

The original July 31, 2015 recall date has been expanded by The Kraft Heinz Company for the recall of select code dates and manufacturing codes of its individually-wrapped American cheese slices. A thin strip of the individual packaging film can possibly remain adhered to the cheese slice after the wrapper has been removed and could potentially cause a choking hazard.

Kraft Singles American

Approximately 335,000 additional cases of these products have been shipped to retailers in the United States, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands Grand Cayman, Netherland Antiles, Saint Kitts, and Nevis, South Korea, St. Lucia, and British Virgin Islands.

Kraft Singles White American

Only the products with the S54 and S55 codes, referencing the production lines where the recalled product was made, are included in this recall. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the list of dates and codes for 1, 3, and 4 pound boxes.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Voluntary Regional Product Recall of Mrs. T’s Pierogies Due to Plastic Contamination

February 27, 2015

Mrs. T’s Pierogies, of Shenandoah, PA, has recalled specific lots of its Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil variety of pierogies, due to plastic contamination in the product which may be a choke hazard. The recall was initiated after plastic was found in the filling of the product during production by a Quality Assurance check.

Safety Recalls

The product in question is the 16-ounce box of Mrs. T’s Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Pierogies sold in retail groceries in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Illinois and which have the following Best By information:

  • Product with “Best By 05-20-16”
  • Product with “Best By 07-15-16”

To read the complete recall, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


Mrs. T’s 

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Exotic Arctic Marble Fox

The coloration of the Arctic Marble Fox is not something which occurs in nature but is acquired from human intervention and the kits are born in captivity. Marble foxes occur as genetic mutations, called color phases, resulting from breeding the red fox. Their beautiful white fur displays patches of black or tan across the face and on the ears. The Fur Commission USA also reports that an “arctic marble” was born in a silver fox litter in Norway in 1945 at Sverre Omber’s farm.

Black Pine Animal Sanctuary
Photo:  Karine Aigner

Ozzie, in the photo above, was rescued by the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary after being left on the front porch of a home in Indiana without care. He was only about six months of age and had already lived a number of different places.


Arctic Marble Fox
Bored Panda
Photo:  Ewald Mario
While exotic animals have become favorites to own, research and education on the species you wish to acquire is the very first step. Living with and caring for a fox is very different than owning a cat or dog. Check first to determine if owning a fox is legal in your state. We had sugar gliders for a number of years, and discovered that it is not legal in every state to have a sugar glider living in your home. Learn the facts about the fox or any exotic animal before you make that purchase.

Daryl Dee
Sibil's Den
Do your research to find reputable dealers. As with all breeders/dealers, some are just in it for the money without respect to the animal or its welfare.  Foxes are not going to
thrive while living in a house on a full-time basis. They are outdoor animals and also need an outdoor environment in which to feel at home. Their life span is typically 10 to 15 years in captivity and they will weigh anywhere from 6 to 20 pounds. The first six months of a fox kit's life is the ideal time to develop bonding. Foxes need activity and attention to avoid boredom as a bored fox will find something to do and it will probably tend toward being more destructive. Diet for a fox can include beef, venison, poultry, fruit, vegetables, and dog food. Concern has to be given to other animals you may have. Dogs and foxes tend to get along very well, but cat's and foxes are not a good mix. When adding another kit to mix, it is best to monitor any activity between the two until the kit becomes older. Litter box training can take longer with some foxes than others, but persistence is the key to success. Unless you plan on breeding your fox, spaying/neutering will diminish some of odor arising from their marking. They will continue to mark their territory even after spaying/neutering.

Photo/story: Kimberly Deverell

If you are considering a fox as a future pet, visit Sybil’s Den for the Red Fox Family Care Sheet (Silver fox, Marble Fox, Glazier Fox, Pearl Fox) to begin the journey with information on purchasing, environment, young kits, training, spaying/neutering, scent glands, feeding and breeders.

Talk to others who have or have had a fox as a pet to determine what is actually needed to care for one of these amazing creatures. Hearing from someone who has lived that life, will help you decide if you are ready for this new experience.

What exotic animal have you ever had as a pet?